Government Is Good, Don'cha Know
After years of writing about how governments abuse, murder, and imprison innocent people and destroy life around the world, I find that I have been wrong, really wrong. All this time, I wrongfully tried to convince readers that terrible things are done in the name of “good government,” and now I have to apologize to them.
Why this turnaround? I have seen the light. Government is good, yes, very, very good. How do I know this? Why Douglas J. Amy, a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts (an island of True Political Correctness in America's Most Politically-Correct State) has opened a world of Truth and Beauty to me with his website, Government Is Good.
You see, until I read this wonderful site praising the Great Accomplishments and Missions of Government (or at least government when run by the Democratic Party), I had no idea that government constantly did wonderful things for me. I was ungrateful, but no more!
For example, did you know that if it were not for government, your house would burn down if you turned on the lights, as those wicked, profit-seeking homebuilders and electricians would wire your house in a sloppy manner that immediately would start a conflagration that would kill you and your family? (As I read this site, I realize that the world is divided into two kinds of people. The first category includes those who run private businesses in order to cheat and kill you, and the second category includes those selfless government workers who tirelessly labor to keep those other evil people from harming you.)
Now, let me deal with one of the complaints that libertarians falsely have made against the wonders and greatness of government: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is heavy-handed and abusive. Why, even as I write this article (on Saturday, November 14), I see that there is a terrible piece on this website that dares question our government masters who simply are protecting us from the predations of private enterprise.
If it were not for those wonderful TSA people, airlines would practically invite terrorists onto passenger aircraft and all of our cities would lay in ruins as plane after plane would be crashing into them, BECAUSE THIS IS THE GOAL OF THE PRIVATE AIRLINES: KILL ALL THEIR PASSENGERS. How do I know this is true? Professor Amy has told me.
Now, wait a minute, you say. What about our rights? Doesn't the Declaration of Independence say that the role of government is to protect those rights that we already own by virtue of our human existence? Oh, silly you. Professor Amy is much more on target:
We often make the mistake of seeing our rights and civil liberties as merely the absence of some kind of governmental action. We believe that we have free speech or freedom of religion when the government does nothing to impede those freedoms. But in reality, our rights depend heavily on active government — on positive government actions. In fact, the very existence of rights depends on government. Rights and civil liberties are actually political constructs — creations of government. Rights do not exist until they are created by law or established in a constitution. We only have the right of free speech because it is guaranteed in our constitution. If we didn't have our constitution, or if we didn't have government, our civil liberties would literally not exist. (Emphasis mine) In the preamble of the Constitution, the founding fathers did not say that in order to “secure liberty for ourselves and our posterity” they were going to abolish government; they said that they were going to “ordain and establish” a democratic constitutional government to do so. They knew, as Benjamin Barber has explained, that “in democracies, representative institutions do not steal our liberties from us, they are the precious medium through which we secure our liberties."
Yes, before the establishment of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, no one had rights. Furthermore, those colonials who believed in things like liberty and the absence of tyranny were all wet. They didn't have any rights because government had not established them. So THERE, readers of this page! Bet you have not even thought of this timeless truth!
As I read through this wonderful website, I find it is a treasure trove of Truth and Beauty, as I go through declaration after declaration in which we are told that taxes are what secure our freedom, that high taxes are preferable to low taxes, and bureaucracy is pure (when Democrats run it) and much more freedom-loving than those old private companies.
Professor Amy gives many wonderful examples that we should heed, and I will present a few. The first deals with the present economic crisis that occurred because private enterprise — working without any government regulatory oversight — created this recession that never would have happened had government been fully in charge of our economy. You see, the Federal Reserve System operates to protect the rest of us from the ravages of private enterprise, and when the government forced lending institutions to reduce their underwriting standards, government was not being foolish and reckless; oh, no, it was protecting its citizens from those mean and nasty arbitrary standards that those wicked people in private enterprise lay upon us.
(You see, companies only profit when they kill or maim their customers, or put prices so high that they cannot sell many of their goods. It is government that provides our goods for free because government is so far-seeing and so wise that it knows how to take scarce goods the turn them into free goods without causing any economic dislocations. After all, everyone who believes in the wonder and goodness of government knows that the Law of Scarcity was made up by evil people who think government is bad.)
This past week, people celebrated the 20th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Wall. Yet, few people know the truth as to why communism, and especially the Soviet Union, collapsed. That is why you, dear reader, must read Government Is Good, for Professor Amy has the answer to that question, too.
Why did the U.S.S.R. go the way of the Assyrian Empire? Let the good professor explain:
…our rights depend heavily on an active and well-funded government. When governments find themselves in a position where they can't effectively tax and spend as has sometimes been the case in countries in the former Soviet Union citizen rights and liberties become unenforceable and largely non-existent.
I had no idea that the real reason that Stalin murdered millions of people and enslaved hundreds of millions more was because he and his minions could not “effectively tax and spend.” Oh, if only, IF ONLY the leadership of the Soviet government could have found this website or hired this great professor as a consultant, THE U.S.S.R. COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED, AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A BEACON OF GOOD GOVERNMENT AND LIBERTY FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD. Hooda thunkit?
Therefore, dear readers, you must abandon this antiquated notion that the state is the enemy of liberty. Indeed, those who heap calumny upon the agents of the state are guilty of promoting false and evil doctrines. Thus, to gain a true education, you must read, nay absorb, Government Is Good.
As you read through this site (which, admittedly, takes a long, long time, as Professor Amy is quite prolific in his writings that lay praise upon praise upon the state) you will find many wonderful truths. You will discover that Ludwig von Mises was absolutely wrong in his views on bureaucracy because Professor Amy knows that bureaucracy is an efficient and compassionate servant of a mostly-ungrateful populace. You also will discover that you need to pay more taxes — lest our fate be that of the U.S.S.R.
Furthermore, you will find that one of the Great Prophets of our time is Paul Krugman. (He does not mention Ron Paul, but I am sure that the Good Professor believes that Rep. Paul is a very bad man who is harming the Cause of Good Government because, as we already know, Government Is Good.)
Should you continue to explore this wonderful site, you will find that capitalism itself “needs government.” If you read this section, you will find that the reason serfdom existed in the Middle Ages was because there was not enough government. You also will find that private enterprise cannot survive without government because government money is sound and wonderful, not like that dishonest private money that used to exist.
(The one thing that puzzles me, however, is why the Good Professor does not deal with what seems to be the obvious question: If government is so good and so efficient and so kind and gentle, then why do we need private enterprise and private property at all? I'm not sure as to why he has failed to make the obvious connection, but maybe he wants to humor us or let us go slowly into socialism so that when we finally discover the error of our ways, we won't be in despair because we had wasted so much of our lives.)
I could go on and on, but I won't. My article, unfortunately, will not convince many readers of this blog and other libertarians to change their evil ways and embrace the state. No, they will continue to believe the falsehood that the U.S.S.R. collapsed because economic calculation under socialism is impossible and not the truth, according to the Good Professor, that the Land of Lenin and Stalin could not “effectively tax and spend.”
So, there you have it. Government Is Good, and if you don't believe it, then perhaps you need to face the same fate as befell David Koresh and Vickie Weaver, who got what was coming to them because they didn't believe that Government Is Good.
William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit his blog.
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